As we enter new stages of lockdown and towards the Easter holidays, Oxfordshire residents are asked to contact NHS 111 first via 111 online or telephone if they are thinking of attending an Oxford Health Minor Injury or First Aid Unit or an Emergency Department, .
NHS 111 is a national system that people should contact if they need clinical advice. People who need clinical advice but aren’t in a life-threatening emergency are asked to contact NHS 111 first before attending a hospital.
They will then be assessed and, if appropriate, booked into either a First Aid Unit, Minor Injury Unit or the John Radcliffe or Horton General Hospital Emergency Department for treatment.
However, if it would be more appropriate for them to receive clinical advice elsewhere, they will be advised on:
• How to self-care if required
• Visiting their local pharmacy, dentist, optician, or their own GP for help
• Visiting a local minor injuries unit
Launched in Oxfordshire in November 2020, the programme plays an important part in managing patient flow in healthcare settings and reducing overcrowding.
Kathy Ruane, Clinical Lead Specialist/Nurse Consultant for Urgent and Ambulatory Care at Oxford Health, said: “The NHS 111 First service will, for many people, be the best and swiftest route to the treatment that they need.
“People often go to Accident and Emergency departments when they could be treated at a Minor Injuries Unit. NHS 111 First will help get them to the right place.
“In Accident and Emergency, staff must give priority to serious and life-threatening conditions, so if you go there with a minor injury you may have to wait longer to be seen. We ask that, where possible, you contact 111 before attending our Minor Injury or First Aid Units.”
Lily O’Connor, Deputy Director for Urgent Care at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As we move into new stages of lockdown and approach the Easter and school holidays, we’d like people to think 111 first before coming to an Emergency Department. Contacting 111 first beforehand means that you will get the most appropriate care for your needs and enables us to maintain vital social distancing in our Emergency Departments.
“Sometimes, people come to Emergency Departments when they don’t need to, and they could have received care in a more appropriate setting. The 111 advisors will be able to tell you the best place for you to get help, and if that is an Emergency Department, they can book you in.”
Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care lead at Oxfordshire CCG, said: “One of the main advantages of contacting NHS 111 first is that you will get the right care, in the right place, depending on your needs. You may be seen more quickly and by the healthcare professional who is best placed to treat you, a loved one, or the person you are caring for.
“By advising people where and when to go, we can reduce queues and avoid crowding in Emergency Departments and therefore reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, as well as the transmission of other illnesses.”
People should still call 999 and attend an Emergency Department if they are experiencing a medical emergency, but we would ask people who do not need emergency care to contact NHS 111 First to receive the most appropriate, timely, and convenient treatment.
For more information, visit the OUH NHS 111 First webpage.